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U.S. Bishops’ Chairman Expresses Sorrow, Urges Prayers and Support for Recovery, After Deadly Tornadoes Hit Missouri and Storms Damage Other States in the Midwest

WASHINGTON—After tornadoes killed three people in Missouri and storms brought devastation to parts of the Midwest and areas from Texas through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed grief over the lives lost and damage threatened by the tornadoes and storms, and offered prayers for recovery.

The full statement follows:

“I am profoundly saddened by the loss of life and the damage caused by the tornadoes and storms throughout the Midwest and related regions these past few days. As of this writing, millions of people in at least seven states have been affected by the powerful winds, rainfall and rising water levels caused by these conditions. Seven people have been killed in Missouri, Iowa and Oklahoma. Severe weather continues to be expected in this devastated area through the rest of this week.

A call is made to all for prayers for the victims and their grieving families and communities. Further, now is the time to offer assistance to those facing this great loss. We are grateful that Catholic Charities and other organizations are in place working to provide for emergency needs and to help rebuild."

Learn more about Catholic Charities’ efforts at https://catholiccharitiesusa.org.
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Severe Weather

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Pope Francis Names Bishop Robert Gruss of Rapid City as New Bishop of Saginaw

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named the Most Reverend Robert D. Gruss, 63, up until now Bishop of Rapid City, as Bishop of Saginaw, Michigan.  

The appointment was publicized in Washington, May 24, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Robert Gruss was born June 25, 1955, in Texarkana, Arkansas. He attended Madison Area Technical College, in Madison, Wisconsin, and Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was a commercial pilot and flight instructor from 1980-1989 before entering seminary. He pursued seminary studies at St. Ambrose University, in Davenport 1989-1990; at North American College, Rome, 1990-1994; and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum, in Rome. He additionally earned a Master of Arts degree in Spiritual Theology at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1994. In 1999, he completed studies at the Institute of Priestly Formation (IPF) with an emphasis on Spiritual Direction training.

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Davenport on July 2, 1994. Pope Benedict named him a monsignor in 2007.

After ordination, Bishop Gruss’s assignments included parochial vicar at St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Davenport (1994-1997); parochial vicar, St. Anthony Parish, Knoxville, Iowa; Sacred Heart Parish, Melcher, Iowa and St. Mary Parish, Pella, Iowa (1997-1999); pastor at St. Mary Parish, Pella (1999-2004); Davenport diocesan vocations director (2004-2007); diocesan chancellor (2005-2007); director of the propagation of the faith (2005-2007); director of victim assistance programs for the Diocese of Davenport (2005-2007); vice-rector, North American College, Rome (2007-2010); and rector and pastor, Sacred Heart Cathedral (2010-2011).

Bishop Gruss was named the bishop of Rapid City by Pope Benedict on May 26, 2011. His episcopal ordination took place on July 28, 2011.

Bishop Walter A. Hurley, Bishop Emeritus of Grand Rapids, has been the Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Saginaw since October 17, 2018.

The Diocese of Saginaw is comprised of 6,955 square miles and includes 708,837 people, of whom 153,260,91.427 or 12.9 percent, are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Robert Gruss, Diocese of Saginaw

 

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman Applauds States Passing of Pro-Life Legislation

WASHINGTON—The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, has issued a statement regarding states recent passing of pro-life legislation.

The full statement follows:
 
 “Every single human life has value. The trend of states passing pro-life legislation is a very encouraging move toward ensuring that our society cherishes unborn children and their most basic right to life. The pro-life movement has always had two critical goals: increasing support for mothers and children and eliminating the tragedy of abortion. Our march for justice and human rights for unborn children will not be complete until they are recognized and protected as persons by the law. Our ultimate objective, however, is for abortion to be unthinkable. As we celebrate these pro-life legislative victories, we reiterate our commitment to supporting all mothers with the care and resources they need. The Church stands ready to help and welcome them.”
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Naumann, Pro-life legislation, justice, human right
 
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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops to Meet June 11-14 in Baltimore; Assembly to be Live Streamed, Carried Via Satellite

WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will gather for the 2019 Spring General Assembly in Baltimore, June 11-14.  

During the assembly, the bishops will discuss and vote on bishop accountability measures to respond to the abuse crisis and will also hear reports from the National Advisory Council and an annual progress report by the National Review Board. 
 
The bishops will also discuss and vote on the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States (2nd edition); and on the final approval of revisions made to the second typical edition of the ICEL Gray Book of the Ordination of a Bishop, of Priests, and of Deacons.

The assembly will also discuss and vote on the revised passage of the death penalty for the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults and subsequent recognition from Rome. The bishops will also hear a report on the Committee on Priorities and Plans on the Strategic Priorities of the Conference for the development of the 2021-2024 USCCB Strategic Plan. They will also hear reports from Bishop Robert E. Barron, Chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis as well as a report on the Bishops Working Group on Immigration Issues and an update from the Bishops’ Working Group on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.

There will also be a voice vote on the cause for canonization of the Servant of God Irving (a.k.a. Francis) C. Houle.

Coverage of the meeting is open to credentialed media on Tuesday, June 11, Wednesday (partial day), June 12, and the morning of Thursday, June 13. Press conferences will follow open sessions of the meeting as time allows. Reporters seeking to cover the meeting can download a credential application form available in English and Spanish. As capacity is limited, we encourage you to submit your application form by May 24 to media-relations@usccb.org or mail to:

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Office of Public Affairs
June Meeting Credentials
3211 4th St. NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194

There will be no onsite credentialing due to security considerations.

A live stream and satellite feed is expected to run Tuesday, June 11 from 8:30am-6pm Eastern, Wednesday, June 12, 11am-6pm Eastern and Thursday, June 13, 8:45am to 1:15pm. The assembly will be live streamed on the Internet and will be available via satellite for broadcasters wishing to air it. Public sessions of the general assembly discussions and votes will be available via livestream at: http://www.usccb.org/live

News updates, vote totals, texts of addresses and presentations and other materials will be posted to this page: www.usccb.org/meetings as soon as possible during the general assembly.

Those wishing to follow the meeting on social media can use the hashtag #USCCB19 and follow on Twitter (https://twitter.com/usccb) as well as on Facebook (www.facebook.com/usccb) and Instagram (https://instagram.com/usccb).

Media outlets interested in taking the meeting's satellite feed may request coordinates by email.
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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Spring General Assembly, June meeting, Baltimore, #USCCB19

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Help People Connect with Christ Through the Catholic Communication Campaign, June 1-2

WASHINGTON—The annual collection for the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) will take place in many dioceses across the United States on the weekend of June 1-2, coinciding with World Communications Day. This annual national appeal supports efforts in the United States and around the world to use the media, internet, and print publications to help people connect with Christ.

“The mission to proclaim the Gospel, entrusted by Jesus to the apostles, has been carried to us today through our baptism. We continue to share the Good News and help one another encounter Christ through all available means - whether it be through the internet, radio, television, or another form of communication,” said Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., chairman of the USCCB Committee on Communications' Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign. “Thanks to the generosity of the faithful in the United States, the Catholic Communication Campaign helps people around the world connect with Christ.”

Fifty percent of funds collected remain in each diocese to support local communication efforts. The other half is used to support national projects in the United States and in developing countries around the world.

For example, the Catholic Communication Campaign supports the production of daily video scripture reflections featured on the USCCB website that are viewed daily by millions of people and a YouTube channel that has 23,000 subscribers. The USCCB’s website served 17.5 million users last year and is also supported by the CCC.

Also, on the island of Samar in the Philippines, home to nearly two million people about 90% of whom are Catholic, many live in remote villages outside the reach of television and the Internet. Instead, radio is a critical source of information. The Catholic Church provided the people of Samar with spiritual programming through a dedicated radio station for 20 years, until Typhoon Haiyan hit the island in 2013 and destroyed it. The community was unable to fund a new station, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without access to spiritual messages. The Catholic Communication Campaign is helping the local diocese to rebuild the station, so people can once again have access to radio programs that deepen their faith.

The Subcommittee oversees the collection and an annual grants program as part of the USCCB Committee on Communications. Shareable resources for the collection are available online. More information about the Catholic Communication Campaign can be found atwww.usccb.org/ccc.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, National Collections, Catholic Communication Campaign

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200